Four Cheese Pasta Casserole is a tasty dish made with pasta shells, shallots, paprika, white sauce, mozzarella, bleu cheese, cheddar, cream cheese, and breadcrumbs. This baked recipe is better than old-fashioned macaroni and cheese. It’s a Southern favorite that is best when it’s homemade.
What is Four Cheese Pasta Casserole?
This recipe for cheesy pasta casserole is not even close to macaroni made in a box. It’s, quite simply, amazing. The cheesy layers are flavored with paprika and shallots and topped with crispy breadcrumbs. When it’s baked, the breadcrumbs become golden brown and each bite is crunchy and creamy. This soul food is wonderfully comforting on any day of the week.
- 1 pound (500 g) pasta shells: You can find shells in the pasta section of the grocery store.
- 3 tablespoon olive oil: Any neutral oil will work for this dish.
- 2 shallots, minced: Finely mince the shallots so they cook evenly and there aren’t any large chunks in any bites.
- 3 tablespoon flour: All-purpose flour works well to thicken the sauce.
- 3 cups milk: Use whole milk to help it thicken the sauce.
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika: Paprika is a tasty and beautiful addition to this casserole.
- salt and pepper: A little seasoning is important to balance the flavors in this dish.
- 7 ounces (200 g) shredded mozzarella: You can use pre-shredded or fresh mozzarella.
- 7 ounces (200 g) shredded cheddar: Use pre-shredded cheese or shred it yourself from a block.
- 7 ounces (200 g) cream cheese: Soften the cream cheese so it melts into the sauce easier.
- 1.5 ounces (45 g) bleu cheese: Crumbled bleu cheese gives this dish a tangy finish.
- panko breadcrumbs for topping: Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top to give this a crunchy finish.
How to make four-cheese pasta casserole:
Here’s a brief overview of how to make this dish. See the recipe card below for the specific recipe instructions.
1. Preheat the oven 375F/190C.
2. Saute shallots in olive oil over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Add flour and whisk to combine.
3. Start pouring in milk in portions while continuously whisking until it has been incorporated.
4. Cook the sauce for 10 minutes or until thick. Make sure to whisk all the way through.
5. Add cheddar and cream cheese and whisk until fully melted. Add blue cheese and make sure that the sauce is smooth.
6. Pour the sauce on top of the pasta and mix through. Top with mozzarella and panko breadcrumbs.
7. Bake for 25 minutes.
Tips for success:
Here are a few tips for success and variations you can try to make this the best cheesy pasta casserole you've ever had.
- As well as the types of cheese listed in the recipe, you can also use Velveeta.
- You can also add minced garlic, green chiles, chili powder, or minced jalapenos.
Which meat can I add to this creamy pasta casserole?
If you want to add some meat to four cheese pasta casserole and make it a main course, you can absolutely do so. Try some shredded chicken, smoked pulled pork, ground beef, or andouille sausage. Each of these options gives the dish a different flavor profile. Think about who you’re serving it to and what they like best.
Can I make this dish in an instant pot?
You can cook this four cheese pasta casserole in a pressure cooker to make this a one-pot meal. This makes it so much easier to clean up after dinner is over, which is always a benefit.
To make this four-cheese pasta casserole in an instant pot, use the saute function to cook the shallots and add the flour and milk while whisking. After the sauce thickens, add in the cheese, pour in the pasta, and stir to combine. Cover with the lid, cook on high for 20 minutes, and then carefully release the pressure. Serve immediately.
How can I make four cheese pasta casserole in a crockpot?
It’s easy to make this casserole in a slow cooker. Combine the ingredients in the bowl of the crockpot, stir, cover with the lid, and set to cook for four hours on high. This will allow you to use the oven for other things or keep your time free during dinner time.
How to store four cheese pasta casserole:
Store any leftover casserole in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. Reheat it in the microwave with 30-second increments until it’s hot all the way through.
To freeze the entire casserole, wrap it in aluminum foil and plastic wrap. Label it with what it is, how to cook, and the date. Labeling will help you remember later. Remember that if you cook it from frozen, it will take longer to cook in the oven without thawing first. Keep the foil on until the last 30 minutes of cooking so the top can brown.
How can I make this dish spicy?
If you want to make this casserole spicy you can add minced jalapenos, andouille sausage, cayenne powder, or green chiles.
What can I serve with four cheese pasta casserole?
This dish is rich and creamy, so it’s best to serve dishes on the side that balance out these flavors. Think of things like biscuits, dinner rolls, or steamed or roasted vegetables.
What else can I top this dish with?
You can top this casserole with uncooked biscuits, crescent rolls, or drop biscuits. When cooked they puff up and make a tasty addition.
- 1 pound (500 g) pasta shells
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 shallots, minced
- 3 tablespoon flour
- 3 cups milk
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- salt and pepper
- 7 ounces (200 g) shredded mozzarella
- 7 ounces (200 g) shredded cheddar
- 7 ounces (200 g) cream cheese
- 1.5 ounces (45 g) bleu cheese
- panko breadcrumbs for topping
- Preheat the oven to 375F/190C.
- Saute shallots in olive oil over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Add flour and whisk to combine.
- Start pouring in milk in portions while continuously whisking until it has been incorporated.
- Cook the sauce for 10 minutes or until thick. Make sure to whisk all the way through.
- Add cheddar and cream cheese and whisk until fully melted. Add blue cheese andmake sure that the sauce is smooth.
- Pour the sauce on top of the pasta and mix through. Top with mozzarella and panko breadcrumbs.
- Bake for 25 minutes.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 585Total Fat: 41gSaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 108mgSodium: 824mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 1gSugar: 8gProtein: 30g